EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Starting in the 2022 election cycle, Wisconsin’s legislative maps will be changed. The state re-districts every 10 years following the census. First News at Nine’s Max Cotton takes a look at the process for re-drawing our state assembly, senate, and U.S. House District maps.
“There’s little question that the republican assembly and senate did a really good job of drawing a map that benefited their party,” said UW Eau Claire Political Science Department Chair Geoff Peterson.
Nine years ago, Wisconsin republicans had a trifecta, controlling both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.
In 2018, that changed when democrat Tony Evers defeated incumbent republican Scott Walker.
This year, UW Eau Claire Political Science Department Chair Geoff Peterson says democrats won enough legislative seats to prevent republicans from overriding a potential Evers veto.
Peterson said, “Had they gotten a veto-proof majority they could have simply drawn whatever map they wanted to and the governor would have vetoed it and they could override it and the map would stay. But since they didn’t get that they’re going to have to try to negotiate with the governor.”
Evers has set up an independent task force to draw the map he’d like the legislature to send him. Peterson says that’s unlikely to happen.
“Neither side has an incentive to let the other side win on this one,” said Peterson.
If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the courts will be forced to draw the maps.
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Republican State Senator Kathy Bernier thinks it’s likely to happen.
Bernier said, “It is not like the judges completely throw out all of the lines and all of the maps. They have never done that. They have determined what actually follows the guidelines and the precedent that has been set.”
But Peterson says what the maps look like depend on which judges get to draw them.
“If it ends up going to the courts, we could end up with a radically different legislative district map than we have right now. It is possible. We could also end up with one that is not all that different than this one. It will just depend on who the judges are and what standards they use,” said Peterson.
In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.